By Doug Porter
In case you missed the news, Bob Filner’s days as Mayor will be coming to a close this week. The City Council went into closed session, voted to accept a deal worked out in mediation, played cards for 75 minutes, and came back to announce the results.
The soon-to-be ex-Mayor came to the front of the room and gave a rambling speech on Friday.
The announced date for the resignation to take effect is Friday, August 30th. By postponing the inevitable a week into the future, the schedule for future special election(s) was moved up in a manner more favorable to a higher voter turnout. This could turn out to be one small last gift to the people of San Diego from hizzoner.
Today’s UT-San Diego hails City Attorney Jan Goldsmith as one of the four citizens who ‘saved’ the city. While making his victory laps around town this morning, Goldsmith appeared on NBC7/39, telling us about how it’d been 8 months of tough work…
Wait? Does that mean his “investigation” started before the scandal? I’m sure it was just a mental slip up. Right?
Now that the Most.Horrible.Era.In.San.
From down-low in the flood plains of Mission Valley, Doug Manchester’s minions are leading the charge, starting out with editorial advocacy of a road map for what the future must hold in order for America’s Finest City to redeem itself:
According to the UT, we need to:
- Get back to the business of screwing government employees. Around here we call that ‘managed competition’, a process where city employees are encouraged to participate in the elimination of city services via the threat of privatization.
- Get’er done with the Convention Center Expansion. Nothing says good government like a shiny new building built on a sinking waterfront to meet the demands of a shrinking industry.
- Build a paid parking garage in Balboa Park. A local rich guy with a legacy complex wants it. They want his money for lots of other projects and it fits in nicely with plans to convert much of the rest of the parking in the area to paid.
- Build a new Charger stadium. Yes, we need less pothole filling and more luxury boxes so we can watch over-rated quarterbacks throw interceptions. Ugh.
On Sunday we were treated to a three part explanation in the newspaper of how it will be now that he who must not be named is gone.
First up we had former Mayor Jerry Sanders, now speaking from his soap box over at the Chamber of Commerce:
The turmoil of Mayor Filner’s administration has beleaguered our city long enough, and will only continue to weigh us down if we let it. Our next mayor needs to demonstrate strong leadership that unites us, reinforces our collaborative spirit and moves us in only one direction: forward. We have many important projects ahead of us, such as the Convention Center expansion, Plaza de Panama, 2015 Centennial Celebration, and issues — including infrastructure, managed competition, restoring fiscal responsibility and growing our innovative business environment — that will significantly impact the future of San Diego. The chamber, and the regional business community, is committed to working with our next mayor to address these issues and many others. It is only when we begin working toward the future that we can let the damage from past events subside.
Next up the UT presented the thoughts of Malin Burnham, representing a viewpoint favored among the town’s ultra-monied crowd:
In addition to a new football stadium, filling a few potholes with trickle-down dollars and a new city hall, he wants:
- Competitive bidding regarding outsourcing various city services
- Re-establish, in some new form, our past highly successful redevelopment process
- Build additional parking within Balboa Park that could help anchor a transportation parking district along Park Avenue from the zoo to the bay
- Build a stronger coalition among our state and federal elected officials to gain a stronger voice in Sacramento and Washington, D.C.
- Relieve traffic congestion in the greater downtown area by building grade separations between streets and railroad tracks
Note that the “highly successful redevelopment process” in San Diego has come at the expense of virtually every community south of Interstate 8. And now that Gov. Brown has put the kibosh on those scams, additional monies are flowing from the property tax rolls to our schools.
Finally, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, who was a pivotal force in the last election, adds her perspective:
Whoever may become our new mayor must continue to pursue an inclusive agenda that empowers people and neighborhoods to better their lives. We don’t need more charity from otherwise low-road employers. We need good jobs with wages that support families.
We need a mayor who will work with our school districts to improve K-12 education for the entire city, rather than pick ideological fights with our school boards. We need someone committed to increasing public safety staffing levels — not to put more of our kids in jail or deport our residents, but to return to community policing and to provide neighborhoods with appropriate emergency response times.
We need leadership at City Hall that corrects the inequities in neighborhoods where city streets exist without sidewalks or adequate lighting. We need more trees and a true commitment to water reliability and renewable energy for our region.
For San Diegans who subscribe to this vision, the challenge is ours. The same players who have dismissed our progressive solutions in the past are counting on our coalition to forego our right to vote for the next mayor because special elections are traditionally low-turnout affairs. We must prove them wrong. Our long-term goal of a sustainable San Diego will only be achieved if we ramp up the engagement of our communities early, organize around the issues important to us, and mobilize to once again empower ourselves by voting for the candidate committed to rebuilding our middle class.
If you haven’t heard, her man-with-a plan-for moving this agenda forward is Nathan Fletcher. Lots of the same folks that worked hard in the fall 2012 election, notably organized labor, are having a hard time finding credibility in that idea.
The history of special elections generally favors more conservative candidates. And the time frame will favor those with ready access to cash. As Liam Dillon at Voice of San Diego put it:
The speed of the election will benefit candidates who can raise money quickly and get major institutions like the local political parties, labor unions and GOP-friendly Lincoln Club on board early.
“I think the serious candidates will have raised $100,000 in the first week,” said Democratic political consultant Jennifer Tierney…
…In the last five citywide elections, a rule has emerged. If you’re a Republican, you can get anything you want (City Council candidates, killing a sales tax hike, pension reform), except in a presidential general election.
What the Future Holds
Frankly I don’t see a candidate with a realistic chance of winning who will make serving the disenfranchised and under privileged residents of our fine city a priority. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try, however.
Here’s a five point plan for holding politicians hands to the fire in the upcoming period, one that will guide my viewpoint in the coming months:
- Keep a close eye on the City Council. They have the most short term potential to derail the progressive policy decisions that emerged during the Filner administration. Watch for a move by the city’s hoteliers to reassert their claim on the 2% “fee” for marketing currently tied up by their refusal to protect taxpayers from liability in pending court cases.
- Keep an even closer eye on Jan Goldsmith. He’s the key to the highway for the local ‘business as usual’ folks. If his toupee blows off, we’ll have photos.
- Thoroughly vet any and all candidates for Mayor. We started today with Nathan Fletcher, using his own words, via a devastating takedown by Jim Miller. Anybody else who declares for the job can expect the same level of scrutiny.
- Follow the money. For those of you who’ve bought into the narrative about elections representing the will of the people, I’ve got a shocker for you: they’re often about conflicts in the moneyed class. We’ll be taking a close look at who gives what and trying to make sense of what vision for San Diego it’s tied to.
- Keep our neighborhoods in the forefront. The antidote to trickledown economics and downtown centric economic development is supporting and organizing within the dozens of communities in San Diego. To that end I’ll be keeping close tabs on the candidates. I’m even thinking about running a scorecard documenting the number of times a candidate actually sets foot in a non-wealthy neighborhood.
Finally, did anybody see any mention anywhere in all this talk about San Diego’s future about building an infrastructure that acknowledges the realities of global warming? If I was a bicycle enthusiast or depended on public transportation in this town, I’d be very concerned.
Check Out the SDFree Press Calendar
Thanks to the efforts of Brent Beltrán, the San Diego Free Press now has an on-line calendar of events. You can see events in the arts, performances and political gatherings of every persuasion by clicking on the ‘Calendar’ Tab at the top of the page. To get your event listed, drop us a line: firstname.lastname@example.org
On This Day: 1920 – The 19th amendment to the Constitution went into effect. The amendment prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex in the voting booth. 1967 – Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze” was released. 1973 – A Presidential Proclamation declared August 26th Women’s Equality Day.
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